Industry and Synergies
What is the Western Trade Coast?
Key Strategic Issues
Opportunities / New Things Coming
Synergies (Industrial Symbiosis)
- What is it
- RDA Perth Lithium Report
- AMEC Report: A lithium industry in Australia
- AMEC Report: Australian Battery Minerals Investment Opportunities
- WA State Government Report: Future Battery Industry Strategy WA
- Federal Government Report: Lithium Ion Battery Value Chain
- Federal Government Prospectus: Australian Critical Minerals Prospectus
Key Strategic Issues
In 1999, a lift-out feature in local newspaper, the Weekend Courier, noted that “the KIC plays a vital role in fostering the safe and continuing operation of industry in harmony with the local community”.
This statement was at the forefront of a 2009 review of KIC’s six strategic issues to drive future activity. The revised (and current) strategic issues are:.
- Buffer preservation
- Road/rail/port constraints and resolution
- Pipeline governance
- Land availability
- Process water availability and disposal
- Simplifying regulation
KIC believes that protection from residential development pressure through preservation of its buffer zone is critical to the KIA’s ongoing success. The buffer zone was established to protect the community from industry activities – as well as industry from the community. It is KIC’s position that without the extensive buffer, the KIA could not have grown to become what it is – the State’s premier industrial area. However, protection of the buffer has proven to be an ongoing challenge for KIC.
KIC’s view is that the buffer zone should be protected under the provisions of a Special Control Area, and further under an Environmental Planning Policy (EPP) and a State Planning Policy (SPP). Protection under these policy statements would enable KIC to achieve its goals and to plan for a long-term future in the KIA.
“KIC believes that the Industry Protection Area (also known as the buffer zone) should be at the very least protected under the Metropolitan Region Scheme (MRS) as a Special Control Area. Implementation of a Special Control Area will provide the necessary certainty to industry, to the government regulators, their statutory and transport planners, and to the community.”
Road/Rail/Port Constraints and Resolution
The rising energy cost issue has abated somewhat, but it is something to keep a close watch on. Access to heavy transport linkages – road, rail, ports – is becoming a future bottleneck to the expansion of industry in the KIA.
These critical infrastructure components have become a significant focus area for KIC to work towards improving. Their resolution can also be linked to the advent of a new port in Kwinana.
Located within the KIA are numerous pipeline corridors, and these are of great use in delivering the inter-industry product exchanges that make the industrial area world renown for its industrial symbiosis.
Whilst the governance framework within which the pipelines are managed can be complex, DevelopmentWA are the lead agency to manage this.
It is strongly recommended to those considering the development of new industrial areas, that robust corridors are planned and secured in just the same way that public roads are, and well in advance. Governance arrangements for these must set out land tenure arrangements (the simpler the better), pipeline approval processes and construction requirements. If the facilitation of industrial symbiosis is an intention, then corridors with plenty of room for future installation projects is a must.
The KIA is governed by three different local governments. This means three different approaches and attitudes to industry, as well as three different town planning schemes. In no way can this be considered efficient for industry, or for the development of the industrial area from a State perspective.
On this basis, KIC’s position in relation to local government boundary reform was that there should be just one local government that encapsulates the WTC, as well as the surrounding communities. This view remains. With the demise of the local government reform process, the issue remains unresolved, while the complexity is increasing.
In the past the definition of the KIA has been considered as “everything inside the buffer”. As the buffer line is the same as the boundary defined by the Western Australian Planning Commission in 2010, and as was described in the Liberal Government’s Western Trade Coast Industry Protection Zone Bill, KIC’s position remains the same – that the Western Trade Coast should be governed under the one local government, not the current three.
It seems increasingly possible that the advent of a new port in Kwinana will bring about a revision of the governance structure for the Western Trade Coast.
The WTC is some 6,000ha in area, with about one third already developed. Some parts are unavailable for future development because they are regionally significant environmentally important areas.
The Kwinana industrial core where the heavy industries are located is almost completely allocated, with only a few relatively small sites available. KIC is advocating for the creation of more sites suitable for large and heavy industry so that the State is prepared the for the influx of industrial interest that will be associated with the proposed new freight port in Kwinana.
The Rockingham Industry Zone, to the south of the WTC, contains land zoned for heavy industry and general industry. There has been an upsurge in interest in sites within the RIZ from, in many instances, companies within the lithium battery value chain looking to set up their operations. The attractiveness of this Zone is its proximity to the heavy industrial cluster, and the ease with which they can tap into the product and by-product (symbiosis) opportunities that exist. They want to be part of Lithium Valley!
Latitude 32, as it is known, is as yet largely undeveloped, aside from the Flinders Precinct, which is a general industry zoned estate. The beauty of Latitude 32 is that in many respects it is a blank canvas, and it is where KIC believes the heavy industrial core can expand in to. The western sector of this area enjoys a very wide and extensive buffer zone. The land is not yet ready for actual industrial installations, but it is hoped that DevelopmentWA will urgently bring it forward for development.
Process Water Availability and Disposal
Industry expansion is becoming processwater constrained. There were hopes that a managed aquifer solution was going to be able to resolve this issue. This now seems less likely, but not from a technical perspective. Regulatory nervousness very late in the process is building hurdles that seem likely to be the demise of the project. New additional sources will need to be found if industry is going to be able to grow and develop unfettered by water shortages.
This issue was handled by the KIC Eco-Efficiency committee in the past. In more recent times the Planning and Environment committee has managed this issue. With the possibility of existing groundwater allocations diminishing in the future, the long-term solution is yet to be decided, and there are a number of options available. Some of these include more waste water recovered from the ocean outfall pipeline, and increasing opportunities within member site boundaries, through new technologies for water recovery and recycling. Water supply could become a limiting factor on the attractiveness of the KIA for new companies considering locating to the area, but it is reasonably clear that solutions will be put in place before that outcome would occur.
KIC is focused on maintaining strong relationships with the public sectors – federal, state and local. This is proving to be increasingly challenging due to the high staff turnover in these sectors, increased fall back onto process-driven red tape, and increased conservatism. Identifying and setting aside red tape continues to be an issue offering substantial challenges to industry, and represents a time and cost drag on existing and proposed industry.
Advocacy on behalf of KIC Members is very important and KIC is active on several fronts. This work is driven primarily through the KIC committees and is yet another reason why member delegate attendance at the committee meetings is valued.